Diving Into the World of Sketchnoting: The Sketchnote Handbook


When I used to attend conferences, I would attend seminars, workshops and keynote talks with my laptop ready, and take copious notes on all of the talks. Pages and pages of typed notes. Sometimes I’d post them to my blog (for what purpose, I’m not really sure), but most often they’d just sit there on my computer, never to be looked at again.

Now I attend events, and instead of taking notes, I tend to live-tweets talks, see what other friends are tweeting on the hashtag for the conference. However, this sometimes takes me off into social media tangents not connected to the event, and then I realize that I’ve zoned out of whatever is being presented.

At the Emergence Christianity event, I finally was able to see artist Paul Soupiset in action, as he took sketchnotes of Phyllis Tickle’s talks. If you’ve never seen Paul’s work, the video below will give you a taste of the amazing stuff he does:

A couple weeks later, I was at the Six Agency Leadership Initiative Consultation in Baltimore; I had my iPad with me, and so I started messing around with the Paper app. I didn’t really do anything special, but I found that I enjoyed taking more “visual” notes – and it helped me to stay focused on the content, without feeling like I needed to get down all the presenter’s points. This is just one example of some notes, and a sketch of my iPhone from a different session.


iPhone4SAnother friend at the conference, Shawna Bowman, did some amazing visual notes as well, and you can see some of them here. I decided that I would start to try out this format for taking notes at future events…maybe even at Presbytery next month?

And then last week I realized that another artist I really enjoy, Mike Rohde, had a book out called “The Sketchnote Handbook.” Sounded like the perfect book to dive into the world of sketchnoting. I got the book and quickly started to go through it, practice some of the skills, and watched the videos that you have access to, along with the purchase of the book.

The-Sketchnote-HandbookMike makes beginning the process of sketchnoting very accessible, fun and something that anyone can do. After finishing the book this afternoon, I decided to practice sketchnoting by watching a TED talk and taking some sketchnotes. I chose a talk by Elizabeth Gilbert on genius & creativity. The sketchnotes that I took can be found in the image at the top of this post.

I can already see this as being something that I could get into, and would make note-taking at conference and events more fun and more worthwhile. If you’ve thought about trying out sketchnoting, then I would really recommend Mike’s book. You can pick up a copy on Amazon here.


Leave a Reply